February 7, 2012

Egg Carton and Eggshell Seed Starter

Today I repurposed egg cartons and egg shells to start seeds cheaply.  I've done it in the classroom in the past, but this is the first time I've done this for my own seeds.  here's how

Step 1:  Eat your eggs, but save the shells in the carton.  In this case, my carton is cardboard but you can do this with styrofoam--just make sure to poke holes in the bottom of the carton (at least one per egg space).

Step 2:  Let the eggs dry out.  I've read that you should wash the shells because of bacteria, but I just let them dry out.

Step 3:  Crush the shells roughly.  Eggshells are awesome for plants.  Over the long term (I'm talking months to years), they gradually dissolve and provide calcium to the soil, which prevents end rot.  Over the short term, roughly crushed shells promote drainage in the soil the same way rocks do without the extra weight.  Cool, huh?

Step 4:  Put in potting soil, and plant seeds.  In this case, I've planted hot pepper seeds (see the hot-pepper tutorial). 

Step 5:  Set it in a waterproof base in a sunny window and water whenever the soil dries out.

You can make it into a small greenhouse by applying a film of saran wrap to encourage faster growth in most areas and to allow for growth if the room where you're growing the seeds is chilly.  This makes watering it a bit more of a pain, but speeds things up.  In this case, I'm starting these seeds early in a very warm spot so I'm ok without the greenhouse.

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